Kentucky 4 Kent State 2
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thomas Bernal dropped a two-RBI double down the leftfield line to score the game-tying and go-ahead runs to cap a dramatic 4-2 comeback win for No. 22 Kentucky over Kent State, on a hot Saturday afternoon, in front of 2,258 at Louisville’s Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Wildcats faced a two-run hole after allowing four consecutive singles to open the first inning. Kent State then rode a strong pitching performance from right-handed changeup artist Nick Jensen-Clagg, who carried a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead.
Kentucky (36-24) then mounted a one-out rally to take the lead in thrilling fashion. Max Kuhn started the rally with a single down the leftfield line to bring up A.J. Reed – the National Player of the Year and the starting pitcher. Reed smashed a RBI double into the right-centerfield gap, scoring Kuhn to cut the lead to 2-1. That ended the game for Jensen-Clagg, with Kent State turning to flame-throwing closer John Fasola.
Louisville 6 Kansas 3
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Powered by another quality start on the mound and a fast start at the plate, the top-seeded Louisville baseball team advanced to its fourth NCAA Regional title game in six seasons with a 6-3 victory over Kansas on Saturday evening at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Cardinals (47-15) will play in the championship game of the NCAA Louisville Regional on Sunday at 4 p.m., ET against the winner of the Kentucky-Kansas elimination game, set for Sunday at noon. With a victory on Sunday night, Louisville would advance to next week’s Super Regional round, while a loss would setup a winner-take-all title game rematch on Monday night.
Sophomore righty Anthony Kidston (Defiance, Ohio) led the way on the mound for the Cardinals allowing just two runs on five hits with six strikeouts in seven innings to improve to 8-0 this season and 13-0 in his collegiate career. With his third straight seven-inning performance, Kidston lowered his career ERA to just 2.44 while increasing his strikeout total to 115 in 110.2 innings.
At the plate, Louisville scored the first five runs of the game with freshman outfielder Corey Ray (Chicago, Ill.) setting the pace going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored. The three hits are a career-high for Ray, who has a .522 average as a starting outfielder in the last eight games. Senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) chipped in with two hits, one run driven in and one run scored, while junior second baseman Zach Lucas (Louisville, Ky.) was2-for-4 with a double and one RBI. Junior shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) added a single, two walks, two stolen bases, two RBI and two runs scored as the Cardinals out-hit the Jayhawks 11-6.